I hope you’ve had a lovely week and that you have a great next week too! So today I want to write about my reflections (what I’ve learnt etc) on my year abroad, so I warn you it might be a long ‘un, i apologise in advance.
One of the best things that has happened to me is meeting a best friend here. She’s probably the most beautiful and inspirational person I’ve ever met and I’ve learnt a lot from her, as well as the other people I’ve met here too. It has really emphasised to me that the people you surround yourself with is so important ~ if they inspire you to be a better you and love you for you that makes life so much better. I know now the kind of person I want to be and should strive to be and I love having a goal to reach.
Firstly, I’ve learnt that you are enough as you are. My entire life (as you’ll know if you read my blog regularly) I’ve struggled with awful self esteem issues that have impacted everything I’ve done, and the person I am today. Being in Madrid has taught me a lot about self esteem and self love. If you set out to love yourself it becomes an aim you want and you begin to see yourself more positively. Of course, this is a really tough journey if you’ve never liked yourself. So it’s important to remember it’s okay to have bad days about your self esteem. Mine is getting better and yet I still ended up in tears talking to a friend about it ~ because sometimes I still have to really search for the good. But Madrid showed me that positivity about your appearance is achievable and that it’s worth the fight.
Furthermore, my whole life I’ve placed so much emphasis on what other people think of me. This has been the main driving force of my self esteem and when things didn’t go my way it tended to ruin me. However, the people here have shown me that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you, all that matters is what you think of yourself. At the end of the day no matter how you look there will be people there to criticise and people there to support you and you decide who you listen to, or listen to none of them 🤷🏽♀️. Importantly, if someone doesn’t find you attractive it really isn’t the end of the world as you have to remember that you don’t find everyone attractive but that doesn’t mean they aren’t attractive at all, just that you don’t find them attractive (e.g. I don’t think Chris Pratt is attractive but that doesn’t mean he’s not, he’s just not my type). So this has been a big step for me, recognising these things and trying to overcome them.
I’ve also learnt that I love to exercise. Okay this might not seem a big thing but for me it’s huge!!! I used to hate exercise of any form that wasn’t dance or swimming ~ but now I can’t seem to get enough! Yesterday I did a hike for fun, plus I started running in April and I’ve run about 3 times a week (sometimes everyday if I have the time). It really helps me to think and relax, plus I think it helps with my headaches, migraines and anxiety (gotta love that cocktail of joy ahahah). If I haven’t run in a while I really notice it and I have to go (a while being three days, I start getting withdrawal symptoms). I still enjoy doing my squats to Beyoncé and clubbing music, very inspiring and empowering I have to say (although not so much since my PJ bottoms keep falling off every squat because of the weight I’ve lost). Speaking of weight loss, that has majorily helped me in some ways – I love it when I feel more confident because of the weight I’ve lost, but I also hate it when I can’t see that I’ve lost weight and I go and try some clothes on and they still look horrendous. As I was saying though, it’s okay to have bad days when it comes to your self esteem because without them you couldn’t have the good.
This brings me onto something else ~ I’ve realised that it’s okay to have problems as long as you can admit to them and work on them. It’s half of the battle to admit that there’s a problem! My weight has always made me so unhappy but in the past it made me so unhappy I wouldn’t even recognise it as a problem or talk about it, I’d just block it to try and take away the pain. This is not a good strategy I assure you ahaha, much better to admit that you have a self esteem problem because of your weight and then work on loosing weight. This is the beginning of turning my weight around and I know I can keep up with it when I’m at home, after all I won’t be in a capital city with all the temptation of food restaurants there!!! Plus, I’ve learnt that you really can loose weight just by changing your diet and adding a bit of exercise ~ although you definitely have to get to the stage where you want to. I’m really proud that I’ve lost a stone and a half in Madrid, long may it continue! This is has also highlighted to me my problems with food, but I’m not afraid to address them and talk about them now. I can definitely say I’ve seen the spectrum with food problems; before uni with binge eating disorder (although I didn’t know it (I wish I had)) to making myself throw up after eating anythung sweet. If you ever want to talk about food problems I’ll always listen; I’ve really learnt that it isn’t a weakness to share your problems rather than hiding them away, in fact it’s a strenght.
This isn’t really something I’ve learnt but I’ve definitely gotten better with buying clothes etc ~ today I’m wearing cuellotes (first trousers in years that I’ve owned) and the other day I tried a bodycon mid length dress on and it didn’t look horrendous (couldn’t bring myself to buy it yet though)! This has really been possible because of the support of my friends here, it’s so true that friends impact the way you see everything and I have such supportive ones, it’s truly amazing.
Also, I’ve realised that it really doesn’t matter whether or not you’re cool, how other people perceive you or how many likes you get on Instagram. At the end of the day you can only be you and for me I want to strive to help as many people as possible, be happy and work on myself. Of course I’d like a good job but happiness comes first (shout out to Mill).
I think in general year abroads really help you to mature and grow as a person ~ of course you have to be willing to put yourself out there and try new things or you won’t get as much out of it! My year in Madrid has honestly been amazing ~ I didn’t do things like go raving all the time, but I did get excellent marks, a bit of Spanish (that’s the one thing I’m sad about), some amazing friends and I’ve grown so much as a person, the amount has even surprised me. Overall it’s been fab (this post might get added to later when I’m not sat in the airport about to fly home)!
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Love,